In my job search process at the beginning of this year, I had the opportunity to meet a recruitment specialist from a renowned business school. Although his usual work involves dealing with business students, he shared some valuable advice with me, which, I believe, could benefit any job seeker. Please note that the examples I will use for illustration in this article are tailored to my personal job hunt in data science but can be exchanged by other roles.
Tips for your resume
2. Research all required skills and add as many as possible to your CV
For every application you want to send out, copy the job description into a Word document or Google doc, and highlight every skill they are looking for in a candidate. Collect them in a list and re-phrase them in your own words with the help of a thesaurus. Try to implement most of those skills into your CV in either an “About me” section, as explained above, or your work experiences or skills section.
In the example below, I highlighted all skills needed for a Data Analyst job in the Finance and Accounting department. It is an artificial job description I wrote, so I won’t get in trouble with copyrights.
This is how you could cover two of the named skills in your work experience section in your CV:
Data Analyst at XYZ (2018–Now)
- Created and updated 2–5 KPI reports per month using Tableau
- Analyzed the lifetime journey of key customers and supported product owner with data insights to assist in decision making
3. Use the STAR or CAR method to describe previous work or project experience
When listing your previous work experience or project work (recommended if you haven’t got any relevant work experience), you should describe every role in one or two bullet points. The STAR or CAR method can help you sell your experience & skills more appealingly. Rather than just adding random bullet points, tell a coherent story that makes you stand out of the crowd. The STAR method stands for “Situation, Task, Activity, Result” and the CAR method for “Challenge, Activity, Result”.
When writing on your short descriptions, start with the
- Situation and Task or the Challenge you saw yourself exposed to. This could be a problem your company was facing, or you saw yourself confronted within your own project. Follow with the
- Action you took to solve the task or overcame the challenge. And finish it up with the
- Result you achieved by tackling the challenge
If possible, quantify the results or the added value for your company. This makes it very easy for recruiters to assess your achievements, value, and contributions to a company (or own project). For example:
Data Scientist at XYZ (Situation/Task)
- Analyzed workforce tenure and developed a termination prediction model (Action), which resulted in a 5% reduction of employee turnover (Result)
- Identified bottlenecks (Challenge) in the production process (Action) that contributed to reducing the overall production time by 30% (Result)
The CAR and STAR method can also be applied as a strategy when answering questions in an interview.